Author: GosuGamers Heroes Editorial Team
Heroes of the Dorm represents a turning point for the teams competing in it. What might have started months ago as five friends coming together to enjoy a night of Hero brawling, is now something entirely different. Friends have transformed into teammates, rallying around regional pride and the desire to bring home a win.
And as these friends become seasoned competitors, they start logging into Heroes of the Storm for reasons other than completing their daily quests or trying out the latest patch. To these collegiate teams, Heroes of the Storm represents ultimate opportunity--a chance to have their entire tuition paid for and go down in their school history as champions.
After months of competition, 64 teams were whittled down down to 16 through an action-packed weekend filled with many unexpected turns. During what was a rollercoaster ride for anyone who submitted a bracket, top-seeded teams fell to underdogs and the new hero, Xul, shook up the classic strategies that many teams have been relying on.
From the very first match, Group A set the tone for what ended up being a weekend filled with major upsets. University of Waterloo, the top-seeded team from Group A, were cut down by Texas Tech, the lowest-seeded team. Fans’ brackets everywhere simultaneously cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced as Texas Tech won the match.
University of Illinois were widely predicted to make it to the Heroic Four, but the University of California Irvine ZOTBOYS (a team that caster Tim “Trikslyr” Frazier warned to “keep an eye on”) had other plans. In a 2-1 upset, they weathered the storm against Illinois’s aggressive playstyle and won the match.
In the lower half of Group A, University of Tennessee Knoxville secured their place in the Super Sixteen after beating University at Buffalo 2-1. The professional Heroes experience that former Team Blaze player David “Roflcopter” Young brings to his team proved to be invaluable, and they remain a favorite to advance to the Heroic Four.
Louisiana State University’s Bob Ross Fight Club found success in their bracket, shutting down Assumption College’s Kairos despite predictions to the contrary. Assumption were expected to make it deep into the tournament, but those good omens now fall squarely on Louisana State University.
Group B was undoubtedly the bracket’s group of death. University of Texas Arlington and Boston College are two of the fiercest competitors in Dorm, and both were hugely successful in their respective parts of the bracket. Led by Team Blaze members, Eugene “Yuuj” Tseng and Richard “Kladeous” Tran, UT Arlington has one of the most experienced rosters in the tournament.
On the other side of the group, Boston College, led by top tier players Jeffery “KingPlato” Y and Paul “Apauloh” Oh, showed both of their opponents why they have one of the shortest average match times in Heroes of the Dorm. Their victories against Western Washington University and Belmont University were both decisive and aggressive.
Despite being such an unforgiving group, at least one team unexpectedly rose to greatness. Johns Hopkins University now find themselves in the Super Sixteen after taking down the higher-seeded University of Utah, whose old-school hero picks couldn’t adapt to the most recent meta.
If you picked your bracket based on seeding, Group C was your nightmare. The only team in the group whose performances were in line with predictions was University of Connecticut. UConn players Daniel “Danleefor3” L and Mitchell “MonkeyLamps” Salvatore are both extremely high MMR players and are well known in the amateur leagues. They remain favorites to advance further into the tournament.
Ohio State University were on few people’s radars before their games this weekend, but toppling two higher seeded teams (Louisiana State University and Temple University) have certainly brought them to the spotlight. Could they be a low key threat for the Heroic Four?
University of California Berkeley returned this year and, after last year’s victory, all eyes were on their new roster. What few expected however, was that their opponents from Harvard University would be such a capable threat. Not only did Harvard topple both Berkeley and Indiana-Purdue, they did so handily with a 2-0 result each time.
University of South Florida showed a lot of promise by knocking the higher-seeded University of Michigan out of the tournament. However, their next opponents from San Jose State University proved to be formidable gatekeepers and, on this occasion, South Florida definitely did not pass. A quick 2-0 abruptly brought their tournament to an end.
Despite the losses of both University of Toronto and Georgia Institute of Technology, Group D was a relatively stable bracket. Arizona State University boasts one of the most formidable rosters in the tournament, with professional players Michael “MichaelUdall” Udall, and Stefan “Akaface” Anderson of Panda Global competing alongside Austin “Shot” Lonsert, formerly of both COGnitive and Resurgence. They easily earned a spot into the Super Sixteen, and remain one of the favorites to win the entire tournament.
The Hero Picks
The most popular hero picks from the weekend revealed the state of the current meta and gave us a look at how teams have been adjusting to recent balance patches:
Burst Damage Initiation:
- Thrall, Sonya, and Greymane were hotly contested heroes in nearly every match. Their burst damage and inherent mobility allowed teams to capitalize on their opponents’ smallest mistakes and take early control.
Team Fight Control:
- It’s no secret that Falstad, Zagara, and Jaina are top tier picks. These ranged heroes can make huge plays during team fights, and they provide any lineup with a healthy mix of utility, wave clear, and high damage.
The Tankiest Warriors:
- In a meta where fragile heroes roam freely, somebody's got to protect them. Johanna, Muradin, and Stitches achieve this by creating space between allies and the enemies targeting them, while simultaneously scanning the battlefield for the right moment to force a team fight.
Supports in the Mix:
- Supports will always be an invaluable part of a team composition, but lately only the tankiest can survive this ruthless burst damage meta. Rehgar, Uther, and Kharazim are the supports with the most survivability options, and their synergy with other melee brawlers is too good to ignore.
Poke and Destroy:
- Li-Ming, Xul, and Valla can throw out damage without breaking a sweat. Their ranged poke options whittle enemies down until the perfect moment arises and they unleash their devastating area-of-effect Heroics that take advantage of a meta reliant on single-target burst healing.
The Super Sixteen
The next phase of the tournament will begin on March 26, at 6 a.m. PDT / 9 a.m. EDT.
Only sixteen teams remain. Thousands of hopeful students entered this tournament and the strongest teams remaining have come a long away. The championship is almost within reach and, after coming so far, these teams are hungry.